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Robert K. O'Daniell/AP Roger Ebert welcomes people to the opening of the 13th annual Ebertfest Film Festival in 2011.Related Stories Roger Ebert funeral: Mourners gather at Chicago church to remember legendary film critic? Roger Ebert dead at 70: Pulitzer Prize-winning film?critic loses long battle with cancer? Chicago TV station slammed by NAACP, journalists Magnolia Bakery introduces 'Dexter' cupcake with fake blood and sugar glass When we see integration at work in an unpretentious way, we sometimes feel the country has truly affirmed itself, displaying human understanding on the highest level. That’s what I thought about last week after I learned of the passing of Roger Ebert, the great film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.Just take a look at his review for “The Great Debaters,” the 2007 film starring Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington. The film was underwritten by the production company of Oprah Winfrey, with whom Ebert once went on two dates, on one of which he famously suggested she take her show into syndication.“The Great Debaters” is a work of historical fiction based on the 1935 debate team at Wiley College, a historically black school in Texas. Ebert’s observations about the film were far more profound than those of jaded critics who dismissed it as just another “inspirational” movie bereft of seriousness. Ebert understood how certain thought patterns had decayed into debilitating ideas about who belonged where Beats Dre Buy in American society.Ebert wrote: “The movie is not really about how this team defeats the national champions. It is more about how its members, its coach, its school and community believe Wireless Dre Beats that an education is their best way out Beats For Dr Dre of the morass of racism and discrimination. They would find it unthinkable that decades in the future, serious black students would be criticized by jealous contemporaries for acting ‘white.’”He saw, in this film, that the power of education transcends skin color and all the rest of it. It may be the best weapon one can use to change things.The New York fact is that, for all his promises, Mayor Bloomberg has not significantly improved the schooling Dre In Ear Beats of most black and Hispanic children.That is in good part because he was shafted by the teachers union, which places the priorities of its members above those of the children they are supposed to be educating.Yet I am still convinced that he and his team did not figure out how to replicate what the Harlem Educational Activities Fund has done year after year in preparing so-called kids of color for success in college and high school, and what Eva Moskowitz has done with her Success Academy charter network, which began in Harlem and has expanded outward.Ebert understood the importance of such efforts, of bringing high-quality education to the children of the inner city. As he wrote in his review of “Akeelah and the Bee,” the 2006 film about a young black girl who becomes a spelling superstar, “This is a tragedy in some predominantly black schools: Excellence is punished by the other students, possibly as an expression of their own low self-esteem.”Ebert, a Chicagoan, saw first-hand what gun violence and cultural poverty were doing to the Windy City’s young.But hopefully he also saw the promise of places like Urban Prep, a charter network whose 167 graduating seniors this year are all slated to attend college. Some call Urban Prep "Hogwarts in the Hood,"a reference to the wizardry of Harry Potter.There is much to be disturbed by in our country these days, but when one sees a group of young black men looking as if they were direct descendants of those students Custom Made Beats By Dr Dre in “The Great Debaters,” the real deal is obviously in front of us. If students can learn in New York and Chicago, surrounded by all kinds Cyber Monday Beats By Dre of hell, then we can avoid the intellectual genocide that usually comes after confident promises and quick fixes.Learning takes time. It is the realest long game. Some of us have never forgotten that.crouch.stanley@gmail.com
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